Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Day 22 of the Chapter. Grande Finale.

Another beautiful liturgy together with many languages represented from the Oriens region. Dom Eamon was the principle celebrant. Our work in the Aula got underway at the usual time. There was much comradery in the air. We went through the presentation of votes 64 through 71. Then those were set aside and we listened to the end-of-Chapter evaluations of the 14 commissions. This Chapter received rave reviews. There was much praise for the Central Commission and the ad hoc commissions. Problems and issues had been handled very efficiently when they came up, and with much pastoral solicitude. As one commission put it, “The sensitivity of the Chapter toward difficult situations is remarkable.” Comments were made that this Chapter had more of a fraternal feel to it. The Papal Audience and Mass in St. Peter’s was seen as a highlight. Much thanks was expressed to the translators and secretaries and other staff members of our Order for keeping the Chapter running so smoothly.

After the mid-morning break, we came back to take votes 64-71. There was great unanimity in all the votes, and we finished them quickly, thanks to the electronic voting process and seeing the results on the overhead screen. Then the various members of our support team came into to the room and went up front where we were able to give them an enthusiastic round of applause.

Dom Eamon’s final address was the last item on the agenda. He is such a wonderful example of humility and simplicity and fatherly love. He commented that this Chapter was full of life, good energy, good humor, and a shared concern about our way of life. This Chapter sparkled with friendships, fraternity and dialogue. He told us that we need to not only go out to others but go deeper into ourselves; we need more interiority. He encouraged us to move more along the path of revitalization. And he pointed out that there will be much from these days to reflect on later, much to unpack from this rich Chapter. He expressed his gladness that the Papal audience had gone so well – this had been our 3rd attempt after two cancelations at the last couple General Chapters. We expressed our gratitude to him with prolonged applause, and he officially closed the General Chapter of 2017 around 11:40. What a blessing to have been part of it.

Impressions: Holiness perfects human nature. I can see it in the faces of the participants of this General Chapter. And it can take such a variety of forms. Many from the outside may see our life as confining, but it produces great freedom. It can be witnessed in the pictures in the “gallery” pull-down tab of this blog page. The Holy Spirit was alive and well in our gathering here this September. A very special thanks to all who prayed for us.

Fr. Stephen, Genesee

The last day of the General Chapter

They came from all over the world,
We came from all over the world,
And we worked together,
Listening to each other,
Hearing the joys,
The sorrows,
The difficulties,
The set backs,
The challenges.
We heard of new life,
Of life lived to the full,
Of life transmitting life.
We tasted new wine
From wise wineskins.
And we looked for new skins,
New and better ways,
To bring this new wine 
To the next generation.
And we discovered
That wine must not be kept in the dark,
In the cold, 
Enclosed too long.
It must flow.
It must flow from an overflowing source,
A source filled to the rim
With the goodness of living water,
Turned to the better new wine
Through the Word of the Lord.
Do what He saying will,
Said His Mother.
And the water flowed,
The new wine flowed, 
From more than six stone jars,
It flowed from more than two hundred hearts,
From the generous hearts
Of Abbots and Abbesses,
Of monks and nuns,
Of brothers and sisters.
And it will bring joy to their beloved,
Peace and joy,
Gentleness and kindness,
Fraternity and mutual support
To live the life of the Word,
The life of Charity,
The life of Faith,
The life of Hope,
The life of Christ
Whose Spirit 
Brought us together 
From all over the word,
And work together
And listen
To what the Spirit says to the Churches,
The local Churches
Of our communities,
And the Church at large.
And than…
Live accordingly,
Live to the full,
Live eternally
And share this life
With all who 
Seek life.

This General Chapter
Gave life,
Pascal Life,
To all capitulants
And to the whole Order,
And to the world at large.

Thank you,
God be praised.

Fr Jan
Region of the Isles

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Day 21 of the General Chapter

It was very nice to attend Holy Mass said and sung in Dutch. Since my entry on Caldey, the Dutch and the Flemish Church had agreed on a common text of the Our Father, and so I made some mistakes. Dom NatanaĆ«l of Westmalle, was the main celebrant and he also celebrated his birthday today. Dom Celsus of Bethlehem reached the canonical age of 75 and treated his commission with chocolate, but this a bit later in the day. Today was also the feast day of Dom Damian of Spencer. In Brazil, our moderator of the day, Dom Bernardo of Novo Mundo, tols us, Cosmas and Damian are represented as children and today is a special children’s day today with a sharing of gifts and sweets. So he suggested Dom Damian to keep up this beautiful tradition.

Yet, the day was not spent in celebration, it was a working day. Dom Eamon, Abbot General, opened with the notice that in the Generalate two places become vacant, one for cellarer or economo, in charge of all the practical work in the house, and one for porter. If any of the houses have a candidate, they can let it know.

And then business began with a series of votes, similar to those of the last few days, and a proposal for some other votes. These votes were taken later in the day. Next came the nomination for the Coordinating Commission of the General Chapter 2020. We also listened to a short report on the working of the Law Commission. After the break we went into commissions to reflect on the reports concerning the Father Immediate in preparation of the afternoons exchange and discussion, and to make an evaluation of the General Chapter.

After yet another tasty lunch and much appreciated siesta, we resumed work with the votes which were presented during the first session of the day. Then we listened to what the  14 commissions found important concerning the Father Immediate. After the break we had a lively discussion on this. This was a memorable moment of the Chapter, because it expressed the great pastoral care of all, Abbots and Abbesses alike, for the whole Order in the line of the Charter of Charity.

After this exchange of ideas, we voted for the new Coordinating Commission, who will do a as great a job on the net Chapter as the CC did on this GC. Dom Elias of Getsemani is the new kid on the block and we took leave of Dom Bernardo, whose input was very much appreciated.

To end this beautiful day in even more beauty, we listened to the evaluation of the Delegates who said “We are unanimously happy to be here! We leave encouraged to walk happily towards the same goal. The experience of the GC brings us back to the challenges of our communities: living our lives fully is the only way open to the future…. We are challenged to live in truth. It is like an injection of fresh blood, new wine! It is an unforgettable experience for which we all thank!”

Fr Jan,
Region of the Isles